Southern nears permit for 920 MW Texas peaking power plant

natural gas power plant august elp 3

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality posted to its website on Aug. 19 a notice dated Aug. 15 that said it is close to a decision on a Southern Power application for a Greenhouse Gas Prevention of Significant Deterioration Air Quality Permit, which would authorize construction of the Jackson County Generating Facility.

Southern Power is a non-utility unit of Southern Co.

The power plant property is south of Lundquist Road at the intersection of Texas County Road 710 and Lundquist Road, Ganado, Jackson County, Texas. This application was submitted to the TCEQ in December 2014. The commission's executive director has determined that the emissions of air contaminants from the proposed facility which are subject to PSD review will not violate any state or federal air quality regulations and will not have any significant adverse impact on soils, vegetation or visibility. The executive director has completed the technical review of the application and prepared a draft permit which, if approved, would establish the conditions under which the facility must operate.

Jackson County Generating Facility will be located about 31 miles northeast of Victoria and 90 miles southwest of Houston. JCGF will consist of four natural gas-fired simple-cycle turbine generator units capable of producing a nominal 920 MW. The power generating equipment and ancillary equipment that will be sources of emissions for the project include:

•Four simple-cycle, natural gas-fired turbines;

•One emergency firewater pump; and

•Five fuel gas heaters.

The site will be equipped with one 160-horsepower firewater pump for emergency use. The engine running this equipment will fire low-sulfur diesel fuel. Hours of operation for the emergency firewater pump are limited to 100 hr/yr for maintenance checks and readiness testing.

A nearly 5.5 million-British-thermal-units-per-hour (MMBtu/hr) natural gas-fired, fuel gas heater will be used for bulk natural gas heating the proposed project and may operate up to 8,760 hr/yr. This bulk natural gas heater will heat the natural gas as it enters the facility to remove condensed liquids in the natural gas prior to use at the facility.

A nearly 2.6 MMBtu/hr natural gas-fired heater will be installed in combination with each turbine. These heaters will heat the natural gas prior to its use as fuel for the turbine to prevent condensation in the fuel system of the turbine from damaging the combustor sections of the turbine. These heaters must be in operation any time the associated turbine is operating and will be limited to 2,500 hours of operation each.

The TCEQ said in a separate Aug. 19 notice that on Aug. 3, the applicant filed a request for direct referral to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) related to two other air permits for this same project. Therefore, the chief clerk has referred that application directly to SOAH for a hearing on whether the application complies with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

SOAH will conduct a formal contested case hearing on Oct. 3 at the William P. Clements Building in Austin. The contested case hearing will be a legal proceeding similar to a civil trial in state district court.

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